tv Democracy Now LINKTV January 20, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
01/20/15 01/20/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica this is democracy now. >> the vast majority of people who have died are yemeni. and other muslims. but we don't talk about that. the day the french shooting happened, aqap attacked a police academy and killed 30 people. it wasn't even a blip on the radar of media coverage. >> as the world focuses on the threat posed by al qaeda in yemen, the yemeni government is on the verge of collapse. opposition fighters have surrounded the prime minister's palace. the president's chief of staff
has been abducted. will the yemeni government be overthrown in a coup? we will speak to journalists iona craig and jeremy scahill. then to guatemala. in a major victory for human righ activists, a former guatemalan police chief has been found guilty for ordering the spanish embassy to be set on fire in 1980. 37 peasant activists and student organizers died in the fire. we will speak to nobel peace prize-winner rigoberta menchú. her father died in the massacre. >> we have been denied the truth for 35 years and today, the responsibility for mr. garcia is clear and also that of all of the people that remained in the hearing, many of whom have already died, but also responsibility of the state. i think this is what makes us the most happy and due process makes us happy, too, because we
have the patience to reach this moment and we are really excited. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. islamic state militants have posted a new video threatening to execute two japanese hostages. the militants demanded japan pay a $200 million ransom without 72 -- within 72 hours, the same amount prime minister shinzo abe pledged to give saturday in nonmilitary aid for countries fighting isis. the hostages shown in the video are kenji goto, a freelance journalist, and haruna yukawa, the head of a private security firm. prime minister abe demanded the hostages' release but did not say if japan would pay the ransom. >> it is an unacceptable act to threaten us in exchange for
human lives and i felt angry about it. i shortly urge them to immediately release the hostages about harming them. >> in germany, anti-racist demonstrators have continued to outnumber members of an anti-islam rallies. authorities banned the far-right pegida party from holding a march in dresden monday after an assassination threat against the group's leaders. rallies went ahead in berlin munich and other cities, but thousands of counter-protesters vastly outnumbered them. in chechnya, meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to condemn the depictions of the prophet mohammed in the french magazine charlie hebdo. the rally has been called the largest ever held in the north caucuses. fox news has apologized for broadcasting false information about muslims in the wake of the paris attacks. last weekend, self-described terrorism expert steve emerson claimed on fox news that parts of europe, including the entire english city of birmingham, were totally muslim areas where non-muslims don't go. emerson was forced to apologize,
but the claim about so-called "no-go zones" was repeated by other fox guests and anchors. on saturday, according to a cnn money tally, fox news took time out of four broadcasts to apologize. julie banderas issued the broadest apology directed at the , people of england and france. >> a correction over the course of this last week we have made some regrettable errors on their regarding the muslim population in europe. particularly with regard to england and france. this applies especially to discussions of so-called no go zones, area where non-muslims allegedly are not allowed in and police supposedly long ago. to be clear, there was no formal designation of these zones and either country, and no credible information to support the assertion are specific areas in these countries that exclude individuals based solely on their religion. >> the fox apology came just hours after she interviewed a
guest who falsely claimed that 69% of muslims in france support isis, a claim fox subsequently corrected. meanwhile, louisiana republican governor bobby jindal has continued to claim the no-go zones exist. jindal is considered a possible contender for the republican presidential nomination in 2016. he told cnn "look, i've heard from folks here there are neighborhoods where women don't have comfortable going in without veils." and mullally, devastating floods have killed at least 176 people and displaced 200,000. rescuers have rushed to bring aid to people cut off from food and supplies. the floods come as nasa climate scientists confirmed 2014 was the hottest year on record due to human-caused climate change. >> 2014, the year just ended was the warmest year on record going back to when the record started in the 1880's.
2014 was about one and 100 degrees warmer than the average -- one and one quarter degrees warmer. >> a woman working for the united nations peacekeeping mission has been kidnapped by gunmen in the capital. the news comes one day after anti-balaka militia members seized two aid workers. a new report finds the obama administration's accusation that north korea carried out the hack on sony pictures was based on evidence it gathered from its own hacking of north korea. the new york times reports the national security agency began penetrating north korea's networks in 2010 and planted malware to monitor activities. meanwhile, a report in the german newsmagazine der spiegel, based on documents from nsa whistleblower edward snowden outlines how the united states is engaging in extensive preparations for an online guerilla war which -- "threatens to transform the internet into a lawless zone in which superpowers and their secret services operate according to their own whims
with very few ways to hold them accountable for their actions." the guardian meanwhile has published a new report based on snowden documents which show the nsa's british counterpart, gchq, collected the emails of reporters as part of its bulk spying operations. emails from the bbc, reuters the guardian, the new york times, nbc, the washington post and the french newspaper le monde were saved and shared with staff on the agency's intranet as part of a test exercise. the agency also listed "investigative journalists" as a threat alongside terrorists or hackers. in switzerland, a whistleblower has been found guilty of violating bank secrecy laws by giving information on offshore accounts to wikileaks. rudolf elmer headed the cayman islands office of the bank julius baer until his firing in 2002. in 2011, he publicly handed compact discs containing information on offshore account holders to wikileaks founder julian assange in a bid to
reveal what he called the "damaging" impact of hiding money offshore. elmer's attorney has vowed to appeal the guilty verdict which comes with a suspended fine, but no prison time. an israeli airstrike has reportedly killed a top iranian general and six fighters with the group hezbollah. the dead include a hezbollah commander and the 26-year-old son of a late military leader. the international criminal court has opened a prelimary inquiry into possible war crimes committed by israel in the occupied territories. the inquiry comes as palestine is set to become a member of the icc on april 1. emeric rogier of the icc prosecutor's office said the examination would cover possible crimes by both sides. >> it is important to understand it is not an investigation. it is a process in the course of
which the office will gather information on crimes committed in palestine since june of last year. we will assess this information and at the end of the process, we will decide whether to open an investigation or close the matter are possibly if you need further information. >> the u.s. state department opposed the inquiry, saying -- "it is a tragic irony that israel, which has withstood thousands of terrorist rockets fired at its civilians and its neighborhoods, is now being scrutinzed by the icc." in argentina, a federal prosecutor who had accused argentina's president of helping to cover up iran's role in the deadly 1994 bombing of a jewish community center has been found dead of a gunshot wound to the head. alberto nisman's death was discovered just hours before he was due to testify before lawmakers on his findings. last week, nisman accused president christina fernandez de kirchner and other top argentine officials of plotting to conceal
the role of iranian suspects in the attack in a bid to obtain iranian oil. nisman had been under police guard after receiving death threats, but authorities say his death appears to be a suicide. the u.s. supreme court has agreed to take up the issue of whether same-sex couples in all 50 states have a constitutional right to marry. the decision comes three months after the court refused to hear appeals from states seeking to uphold marriage equality bans, triggering a chain reaction that increased the number of states allowing same-sex marriage to 36. the court has agreed to hear appeals from couples in four states where bans remain in place. attorney general eric holder has unveiled changes to the federal government's role in civil asset forfeiture, a practice where police seize property that belongs to people suspected of crimes, even if they are never convicted. the new rules prevent federal agencies from taking property
seized by local and state police, with exceptions for items like guns and child pornography. in a statement, the aclu called the move -- "a significant advancement to reform a practice that is a clear violation of due process that is often used to disproportionately target communities of color." in eastern montana, crews have been struggling to clean up an oil spill in the partially frozen yellowstone river. the bridger pipeline company has acknowledged 50,000 gallons of oil spilled from a burst pipeline. residents have reported an oily taste in their drinking water and an oil sheen has been spotted nearly 60 miles downstream. a new study from oxfam finds the world's 80 richest people own as much as the bottom half of the world combined. the group warns the richest 1% now own 48% of the world's wealth, and are poised to own more than half by 2016. the report's release comes as
global elites gather in davos, switzerland at the world economic forum. speaking in davos, oxfam's max lawson urged world governments to take action. >> the claim is that they should tax the rich, tax rich people and rich corporations progressively and fairly, rich individuals, particularly the richest individuals should pay a reasonable amount of tax the kind of level of tax or playing as recently as the 1990's. >> president obama is expected to propose plans for taxes on wealthy americans during his state of the union address tonight. new york city has agreed to pay $75,000 to an african-american man who said he was placed in a police chokehold in 2013. kevin dennis-palmer said he was approached by police while parallel parking outside his home. when he couldn't get out of the car quickly due to his large frame, police tried to pull him through a window, pepper sprayed him, slammed him to the ground
, and placed him in a chokehold while he yelled, "i can't breathe." the case closely mirrors that of eric garner, an african-american man killed in staten island when police placed him in a chokehold and and pinned him down. he said, "i can't breathe" 11 times. the new york city council is considering a bill that would make police chokeholds a misdemeanor, but new york city mayor bill de blasio has said he would veto it. and protesters across the country held more than 50 actions monday to honor martin luther king by reclaiming his radical legacy and condemning police killings of unarmed african americans. marches and acts of civil disobedience under the banner of "reclaim mlk" were held from oakland to chicago to st. louis to new york and denver, colorado where an estimated 30,000 people were in the streets. in a statement, the group ferguson action said -- "we resist efforts to reduce a long history marred with the blood of countless members of our community into iconic images of men in suits behind pulpits.
this mlk weekend we will walk in the legacy of dr. king and the movement that raised him." and those are some of the headlines, this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report, i'm amy goodman. and i am caring that day. we begin in yemen, where the capital sana'a is seeing its worst violence in months. intense clashes between government forces and shia houthi rebels have sowed chaos and raised the threat of a coup. the latest round of fighting broke out this weekend when the houthis kidnapped the chief of staff to president abdu hadi. the houthis are protesting the text of new draft constitution that would divide yemen into six federal regions. talks for the charter began under a peace deal reached in september, after houthis mobilized large protests and captured most of sana'a by force. they were supposed to withdraw in the months since but have only expanded their hold. now the country faces political collapse. on monday, new gun battles erupted as houthi fighters surrounded the prime minister's
residence and the presidential palace. the attack came despite a second ceasefire between the two sides. the capital appears calm for now but uncertainty prevails. >> the houthis' rise has further upended yemen's fragile political order. as the government fights the houthis, it also wages a u.s.-backed offensive against al-qaeda in the arabian peninsula, aqap. despite the long-running u.s. drone war, the al-qaeda insurgency has only grown deadlier each year. the houthis themselves have also fought al-qaeda at the same time as they now take on the yemeni government. the houthis appear to have major backing from longtime president ali abdullah saleh, ousted in a popular uprising in 2011. the latest unrest also comes days after al qaeda in yemen took responsibility for the charlie hebdo massacre in paris. for more we are joined by two guests. iona craig is a journalist who was based in sana'a, yemen for four years as the yemen correspondent for the times of london.
she was awarded the martha gellhorn prize for journalism in 2014. the government has cracked down on local and foreign journalists and at one point last year iona craig was the country's last accredited foreign reporter. she is joining us from london. we are also joined by jeremy scahill, co-founder of the theintercept.org. just days after the charlie hebdo massacre, jeremy broke the story that al-qaeda in the arabian peninsula, aqap, had taken credit. he cited a confidential al-qaeda source in yemen. days later, aqap put out an official statement confirming it took responsibility. we welcome you both to democracy now! iona craig, tell us what is happening right now in yemen and who the houthi militants are. >> what is happening now, it is really political posturing on behalf of of the houthis. they have kidnapped the presidential aides, the chief of staff in order to get that leverage.
in the fighting we saw in the last 20 four hours is also part of that. the negotiations at the moment are going on for the release of the chief of staff in exchange for changing the draft constitution. the issue with the houthis they were formed as a movement in 2004 and then fought the government and six wars between 2004-2010. but they then became part of the arab spring. they put down their weapons, join the protest joined the siddons, particularly in sana'a and became part of the peaceful movement. the transition that followed that was backed by the international community can actually instigated by the u.s. in the first place did not go their way. when the national dialogue was concluded in january last year and the decision was made about federalism and to divide the country to six regions the houthis were not happy. that is when they started taking
territory. there were pushing from their stronghold, if you like, in sana'a to the north, up by the saudi border, and started pushing south toward sana'a. this was also an opportunity for saleh to join in because the houthis'main enemy is on the brotherhood who gained a lot of power after the arab spring and a lot of political power. that a joint enemy. so between the support of saleh and the houthis, they were able to take background and eventually got to sana'a in september and in the space of four days of fighting, the military -- minister of interior ordered troops to stand down and they took control of the city. >> when you say the houthis are engaging in political posturing, deeming they're not trying to carry out a coup despite all this fighting in the capital? >> i think it is really hard to determine whether that is the case or not. in september they have the opportunity to do that. they could have kicked the
president out of that time, but they didn't, which makes me think they probably won't do that now. it depends on how far they are pushed. if they don't get their way with the constitution, they may do that, but i think the houthis has stopped short of taking difficult power. again, they could have put their own people as ministers when a new government was formed at the end of last year, but they chose not to do so because it means than they're not held responsible for when the government collapses and things go wrong. where there taken the sonic control by try to manipulate the government can't take control inside the military without having their own men in power. >> jeremy scahill, how does what is going on in yemen right now place you also have spent time in and reported from, relate to what happened in france and aqap taking responsibility for the charlie hebdo attack? >> one thing that is interesting
to add to her analysis which i think is spot on, the houthis had been an interesting political football of sorts in the u.s. policy in yemen. they've also been bombed repeatedly by the saudi's. saudi arabia waged a not so secret war bombing the houthis in the wikileaks cables, you see when saleh was in charge officially empower in yemen, he would consistently say to the united states, we have to do something about the houthis because they are being backed by iran. to the credit of u.s. diplomats they said, well, we don't exactly think that is true. what was happening saleh was a master manipulator of the united states, and he was looking for anyway way he could to justify getting more military assistance , more money to bolster his own forces that were supposedly fighting al qaeda, to actually use them to shore up his own power base.
when the well was starting to dry up with al qaeda and the arabian peninsula, he would then appeal to the united states and say, hey, we have these iranian agents in the form of the who these inside yemen. what we're seeing right now is saleh, who himself is a shiite and has roots in that region, has now flipped sides and as iona said, and the not so hidden hand behind some of the power grab efforts of the houthis. as it relates to the charlie hebdo massacre, of course al qaeda in the arabian peninsula is facing a situation in the world where they and al qaeda central have sort of been clipped by the rise of the islamic state isis. so in this case, seems like an a minimum, there are ties between the kouachi brothers who conducted the massacre and aqap. if the -- it is to the benefit of the aqap to maximize the with a group of trays its involvement
with charlie hebdo, but there are series questions about whether or not they financed it and directed it or that they simply provided some training to aspiring jihadists who on to conduct his very public globally recognized massacre. >> iona, germany mentioned saudi arabia. can you expand more on their role in this current conflict and you agree saleh is playing a major role in the current unrest? >> yes. i think is certainly clear that saleh has played some role. it was clear to me after the houthis had taken over control of sana'a, just walking around the city, talking to people, even talking to some of the men that were houthis and other people around the city that many of those plane closed gunman you were seeing on the street as houthis at accident part of republican guard before, which
the republican guard was a unit under saleh's time and was commanded by his son. very much an overlap between the houthis in what used to be the republican guard in the takeover of sana'a and a continued control of the city since then. just to go back to the issue the saudi's sort of stop the situation now where -- stuck in a situation where the houthis are supported by iran. how much support there is is an clear. but those are obviously the regional rivals. the saudi's were very much involved in bombing the houthis and we know from our recent reporting that the requester bombs that were fired on the houthis during those wars they came from america, that were sold to them by mecca to the saudi's. the slogan they have of death to america not only comes from a dislike of american foreign-policy, but issues over whether the houthis up and it is
american bombs or hitting them in the past. saudi arabia is now the situation where the houthis effectively are in charge of the government, though not 6 -- physically. they're reluctant to give any more economic aid to yemen as a result because the houthis are in control and very much supported by iran. that brings them in closer to the edge of economic collapse which it is now facing at the moment. on the other side, you have who is taking on the houthis, the saudi's looking at from that perspective. the only people who were physically and willing and able to take on the houthis at the moment is al qaeda, which is also putting a lot of tribal groups in a difficult position. when the houthis started taking further territory after sana'a in september, the areas where they did want houthis coming into the territory and they found themselves, whether they liked it or not come on the same side as al qaeda possibly with the prospect of fighting alongside al qaeda even if they
did not agree with them ideologically because they were the only one standing up to the houthis' expansion because the government was neither willing or able to do so. >> iona craig, i want to ask about the comments of louisiana governor bobby jindal. he is in london right now. he was repeating the allegations that have repeatedly been uttered on fox, and now four major apologies from fox about what they have been saying, that whole areas of london, of brother britain, are no go zones. being that you are in london right now having reported in limit for years -- yemen for years, can you talk about the response of david cameron and others in britain can also -- fox also made the allegations about france. >> i think really people feel incredibly insulted by that kind of ignorant comment. some people have just laughed it off as slightly ridiculous, as
many people see those kind of comments. i've spent time in birmingham and i'm living in the moment in south london. these communities, multicultural committees in both cities, that are certainly no go areas for anybody in that respect. so, yes, i think it is deeply insulting to the people of birmingham -- >> birmingham is the place where the so-called terrorism expert steve emerson said on fox is completely muslim. its majority christian, actually, then he was forced to apologize. " i think probably the crucial thing is the so-called terrorism experts. perhaps this is some of the who hasn't spent much time from behind the desk for a while. he certainly has not visited birmingham, anyway. >> back to yemen, what you see happening next? >> it is hard to predict. the situation politically obviously, unless you have
political stability, you can't have security. you have a very weak government very weak president, effectively a president now with a gun to his head with the houthis sent we want the draft constitution change, otherwise we're going to keep control and hold on to the chief of staff. you have al qaeda who has really changed their mode of operation since the houthisd took over in september and have started targeting civilians as a result. civilians they claim are houthi s. but before, al qaeda had never elderly going out of their way -- never deliberately run out of their way to kill civilians and that changed when the houthis to control in september. attacked in october and twice since the beginning of this year they have attacked civilians and to liberally targeted civilians. that is a really warring for people in yemen, obviously, but now civilians are seen as a legitimate target by al qaeda.
they claimed responsibility for over 150 attacks across yemen since the houthis to control. the issue of instability both politically and security wise and the economy, as i mentioned on the brink of collapse with the government has run out of money to even pay the civil service in the military. but the moment, it is all in the hands of the houthis. it is up to them whether they start this fighting again in order to push forward the government into a corner and take heed of their demands, or whether we now see a peaceful and to all of this. it won't be an end. the houthis still have the power in their hands at the moment and the president does not. >> iona, thank you for being with us, joining us from london, based in sana'a for four years as a yemen correspondent for the times of london. she was awarded the martha gellhorn prize for journalism in 2014. when we come back from the break, we will be continuing
>> at the nobel peace prize concert in 2011, 1 of the three people awarded that year was singing "africa." this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron maté. our guest at we continue it is jeremy scahill, the author of "blackwater." 's latest book is called "dirty
wars: the world is a battlefield." he broke the story that al qaeda in the arabian peninsula and aqap, took credit for the charlie hebdo massacre in paris, based on a now cut a source in yemen. days later, aqap put out a statement of that very nature. jeremy broke it first. jeremy, talk about the controversy "the washington post" has written about, you are on cnn talking about it, protecting what they call terrorist sources. not naming the sources that leaked you that story before it was officially acknowledged. >> i have been a journalist for around 20 years. i am honestly a bit dumbfounded at the response from other journalists. a classic part of good journalism, responsible journalism, going many many centuries back is that your china provide people with
information that is actionable that they can use to make informed decisions on what to believe or positions to take on certain issues, and a key part of covering war is that you have to have journalists willing to go to the other side to speak with the people that you're told are the enemy. and to get their perspective. so we can better understand the nature of this conflict. so just as i have gone to areas in yemen are controlled by al qaeda or areas in somalia controlled by al-shabaab or areas in afghanistan that are controlled by the taliban, we have an obligation [indiscernible] understand where al qaeda in the potential is coming from. the idea we should have a special standard that in certain cases were not journalists, but we are somehow militant
nationalists who should not engage in responsible journalism because the us government doesn't like us talking to those individuals, to make him a just flies in the face of just basic journalistic principles. >> the director of the fbi criticized "the new york times" for anonymously quoting a source from al qaeda and i consider -- assume he would criticize you too. he said the use of the source was mystifying and disgusting and added -- your response? >> clearly, director comey doesn't exley want us to have a truly free press. let's remember, this justice department is waging a role -- war in whistleblowers that effectively amounts to a war against journalism. i don't believe in using
anonymous sources widely. particularly think newspapers and news organizations should not be giving u.s. senior officials anonymity, which is largely was senior u.s. officials request anonymity. they want to be able to say things that secretly or privately benefit u.s. policy and not actually moving the story forward. a lot of disinformation gets pushed out that way. i believe in a limited use of confidential sources. in this case, we have a situation -- we at something that was determined us news value on a breaking news story. the government had declared they were from al qaeda in yemen. there's a lot of speculation going on. i reached out to sources that i know our members of aqap with access to the leadership of that organization to try to get an understanding of whether or not this was true. it was not clear at the time that any official statement was forthcoming from aqap, and if we
were to identify our source who is not authorized to speak -- not just because they're like a private spokesperson, but because aqap has a very strict set of guidelines as to who speaks officially for the organization. also, the source could potentially be in danger, which, to me, is the number one reason why you would grant anonymity to, dental source whose information in the past has been verified as judgment of their life is going to be in danger. i didn't just decide this on my own to grant anonymity to someone from aqap, our general counsel review this, our editor in chief and to senior editors we all discussed this issue and ultimately made it the decision that granting anonymity in this case was the responsible thing to do. >> on sunday, you appeared on cnn hosted by brian stilts are. >> or think it gets into really
fear generating territory is when you have the so-called terror analysts on the air for many of them also work for risk consultancy firms that benefit from the idea of making us afraid. i don't think that cnn, msnbc and fox news do anywhere near a good enough job at revealing the potential conflict of interest of some of the on-air analysts who also worked in the private sector and it money off the idea we should be very afraid. >> you understand that these people want us to be frightened inappropriately, for unnecessary reasons. >> i've spent a lot of is investigating. you'll have retired generals come on air and talk about the danger of a terror group in a particular country, and they are on the board of a huge weapons manufacture or defense company that will benefit from an extension of that war and expansion of that war. perhaps the biggest file leader of this is general barry mccaffrey who has made a tremendous amount of money off
of were contracting and then brought on these networks. >> that is jeremy scahill on cnn "reliable sources." if you could take it from there. you're talking about general mccaffrey and others. >> we also know that soon after 9/11, the pentagon expanded its use of a program where they were invited former u.s. military brass who were serving as pundits on cable news and it would basically give them talking points that amounted to propaganda, a backdoor way of the war machine being able to spread its message. and these guys are without disclosing the were part of the secret meetings, would go on cable networks and project supposedly as independent analysts, the very policy that rumsfeld and others at the pentagon were trying to drive through to the mac in public. most all of these guys who are
retired generals are retired brass have their hand in the war industry to one degree or another. many are making money off working with risk consultancy firms, where they're going to big multinational corporations and offering them their services analyzing risks and countries around the world. if you remember paul bremmer was put in charge of the occupation of iraq him of what he was doing prior to 9/11 was benefiting off of the notion that companies need to be afraid all around the world and that they need people like him to help them assess the risk and mitigate any kind of potential terrorist actions against these corporations. on the one hand, it is the retired generals and other brass that are working in the war industry. on the other hand, it is people like evan coleman who was on msnbc who is a total fraud and is constantly brought on as an
expert. his so-called express testimony has been used to put countless people away in prison on very dubious, thin tourism charges. yet samuel laurent who was on cnn for a couple of days. we don't know where he is. he doesn't seem to be on cnn anymore. but he was a french so-called terror expert and widely viewed in france as a fraud and people are up in arms when cnn put him on the air as a terrorism expert. part of what i think is the problem here is, cnn has really great international reporters who have great experience on the ground. i have tremendous respect for many journalists particularly in the international section of cnn, but then they bring on these analysts who have a vested interest in revving up the fear engine and don't disclose in many cases the built-in agenda a particularly some of these retired military people. >> i just want to ask a combat
the story broke about al qaeda in yemen taken responsible for the charlie hebdo massacre. what you see is going on without them coming for to say they financed the brothers, train them, because presumably, it would invite and intensify drone war. what questions or concerns do have going forward in the aftermath of them taking credit? >> this may be somewhat of a cynical read on this but who has benefited? the people who benefited most from the u.s. drone war in yemen have not been ordinary yemenis have not been the people of the united states. the only real beneficiaries about -- of that policy have been the manufacturers of drones and the missiles fired from the drones and al qaeda in the iranian peninsula. when the u.s. conducts a drone strike and they kill innocent civilians, aqap can use that as propaganda purposes. in the limited cases where they have killed individuals from
aqap, then they are celebrated as martyrs. so i think part of what aqap is doing is trying to goad the united states into once again escalating or intensifying its from campaign inside of yemen because it elevates the stature of aqap. it could be aqap had emitted involvement and that all of the facts about it are armored on the table. my senses if aqap did indeed direct this plot, they're going to produce video evidence to back that up. if they don't do that, then i think it is likely that the truth is that they had some involvement, but were not effectively running the show. >> what is repeated on summit of the networks that anwar awlaki was behind this terror attack on charlie hebdo? >> they try to link anwar to every plot under the sun awlaki
so-called long will terrorists. whether he was operationally in charge of this is kind of a joke. he was not even mid-level management in aqap. there are exploding his legacy because of the power of nightmares. he speaks in english. the united states has elevated his status within the organization. aqap has a leadership structure. anwar awlaki was not the top of that. quick jeremy scahill, broke the story aqap took responsibility for the charlie hebdo massacre. his latest book, "dirty wars: the world is a battlefield," is out in paperback. his film "dirty wars" was nominated for an academy award. when we come back, we go to guatemala for remarkable verdict that is just come down around
"spiritual." dr. martin luther king and malcolm x and ed mentor evers inspired the music. a big shout out to ruth hayden, the widow of charlie haden, who has joined us today at our studios just to come by and say hello. this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron maté. >> a major victory for human
rights activists, a guatemalan court has returned a guilty verdict in the spanish embassy massacre of 1980. on monday, the court found former police chief pedro garcia arredondo responsible for ordering an attack on 37 peasant activists and student organizers who were occupying the spanish embassy in guatemala city to protest government repression. judge maria eugenia castellanos delivered the verdict. >> this court unanimously declares first that the defendant pedro garcia arredondo is the perpetrator of the crimes of murder. >> according monday's ruling arredondo was the officer who gave the order to set fire to the diplomatic mission, burning the activists to death. he was also found guilty of two separate murders and sentenced to a total of 90 years in prison. one of the victims of the spanish embassy massacre was don vicente menchú, an indigenous peasant leader and father of the nobel peace prize-winner rigoberta menchú. in a moment, rigoberta menchu
will join us from guatemala city to discuss this historic verdict , over three-decades in the making. but, first, i want to go to a clip of the 1983 documentary "when the mountains tremble." in the film, menchu looks directly into the camera and explains why her father and other peasant activists occupied the spanish embassy on january 31, 1980. >> the security forces arrived in our village to throw us off our plots. according to them, and belonged to a nearby landowner. we were very scared since we did not speak spanish and could not understand them.
>> that was rigoberta menchu in the 1983 documentary "when the mountains tremble." just two people survived the embassy fire. one was then spanish ambassador máximo cajal y lópez. the other was a guatemalan farmer named gregorio yuja -- he was subsequently disappeared and his body was found with evidence of torture three days after the fire. during the dirty war, more than 200,000 people died. 83% of them work indigenous mayans. >> well, for more, we're joined now via democracy now! video skype from guatemala city by rigoberta menchú. she was awarded the nobel peace prize in 1992. she's published many books
including, "i, rigoberta menchu: an indian woman in guatemala." she's been translated into over a dozen languages, awarded more than 30 honorary degrees runs , the "the rigoberta menchu tum foundation." and here in new york we're , joined by pamela yates. she is a partner at skylight pictures, a documentary film and digital media company that focuses on human rights and social justice stories. in 1983, she collaborated with menchu on the documentary, "when the mountains tremble." we welcome you both to democracy now! that's first go to guatemala city. rigoberta menchu, you were in the courtroom when the verdict and sentence handed down. can you describe your reaction?
>> well, undoubtedly, this is a historic event. this trial and verdict are huge. we waited 16 years for this verdict to be handed down. the trial went on for 16 years. and this verdict has been issued 36 years after the event itself. so we are deeply moved and this is a very special moment in our history. >> can you talk about your long quest for justice almost four decades in the making?
i think that is very important and what is really crucial here is the memory of the victims and the search for the truth and also the commitment to substantiate the truth. so the truth is foremost. because they accused us of being liars. they tried to denigrate the memory of the victims. they even said the victims had burned themselves. but the truth has come forward with this verdict from the court that holds not just garcia arredondo responsible, but holds the state of guatemala responsible for this massacre. >> let's go to the issue of the state. in the same courthouse general
>> yes, there are two depths guilty verdicts that have been issued in this courthouse. first, the guilty verdict for the spanish embassy massacre and secondly, the guilty conviction of rios montt. in both cases, we're seeing there are significant legal challenges. the constitutional court has declared the case against rios montt as been an old, but these
are illegal arguments. they are breaking with due process. and so both cases face significant legal challenges and hurdles to stick. >> pamela yates, if you could talk further about what is happening with rios montt, what he was convicted of, why he is back in trial. and as we wrap up, how this implicates, or does it, the current president of guatemala perez molina and the role of the united states? >> that is a lot. the case against rios montt, he is being retried on the same charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. but his lawyers's strategy is to delay and deny delay so you will never go to prison. he is 88 years old. they hope you will die before that. but isn't it incredible the
people of guatemala now have successfully adjudicated these two cases? one for genocide, never happened before -- >> that was rios montt. >> yes. >> the verdict set aside? >> yes, but for some and he people in guatemala, the verdict is valid. the quest for justice is justice. the fact that people came into the courtroom and spoke for two months about what has asked the happen in guatemala in both the rios montt genocide case and the pedro garcia arredondo, burning of the spanish embassy contributes to be historical narrative and setting the record straight about what happened in guatemala so everyone knows what a happened and no one is afraid to talk about it. >> and the u.s. role? >> well, the u.s. was totally complicit in the genocide in guatemala. we now have the documentation to prove it. when rios montt was being tried for genocide, the public
ministry, like the attorney general's office, had a very narrow focus on one particular region and one particular group of at thef ethnics. many other areas need to be explored. the role of the current president of guatemala, the role of the united states. i'm hoping the conviction in the spanish and a ck's will increase momentum for this justice initiative to continue. or people have been tried, arrested, convicted of crimes that have happened during the war in guatemala in the last four years than in previous 30 years. i think the international community has to support that initiative. >> rigoberta menchu as we wrap up, do you hold the united states responsible in addition to your own government at the time, the guatemalan government and military?